employee presenting charts to coworkers in a meeting

Conducting Performance Appraisals: Key Ideas to Remember

Your company has been around for several years. It’s one of the trusted home improvement service companies specializing in basement finishing and drywall installations and repairs in Salt Lake City. Business is doing good, and the past year has seen significant growth. New teams or departments were established.

The early years were focused on delivering the products and services and ensuring that customers get what they need in the most efficient way possible. Evaluating Individual employee performance was placed at the back burner. Growth is also accompanied by increasing customer demands. With it comes the need to maintain quality. Product and service quality is a reflection of the employee’s performance. Companies, whether big or small, need to evaluate employees to know if they’re doing a good job or under-performing.

Your HR department has again signaled that next month would be the start of performance appraisals. How does one do this successfully? What do managers and employees need to do?

Consider the following as a guide for your next company performance appraisal:

Setting the Stage

Performance appraisal should technically start at the initial meeting with the employee wherein, his or her job description and KRAs or key results areas were presented. The keyword here being “results” concerning performance appraisal. Has the employee achieved the results expected as defined in the job description?

Some organizations tend to overlook this part of clearly explaining to employees what is expected of them given their job description and their “areas” of responsibilities. Some companies are more rigorous and adapt tools to hold employees accountable to an agreement on performance.

Doing the Appraisals

coworkers talking

Managers working closely with employees should be pro-active in providing feedback regularly. If there’s positive work being done, acknowledge immediately. If things are going wrong, address it quickly. When performance appraisal time comes, it will just be a matter of recalling and then discussing these feedbacks.

Here are more tips to consider when conducting performance appraisals.

  1. Develop a tool that fits your team. Performance appraisal is unavoidably a draining exercise. If you don’t have a tool upon which your discussion will be based on, then even more so. Typically, the device is a self-assessment form, wherein employees rate their performance, vis-à-vis their objectives or KRAs. Tweak existing ones that you can download on the internet and adopt it as your own.
  2. Create a positive conversation environment. If possible, leave the office and sit at a coffee shop or anywhere else that’s less tense. Do not hammer down too hard on the negatives. Ask questions like, “Where did you have the most difficulty with?” or “What do you think are your main areas of improvement ?” rather than directly pointing out their mistakes. If they answer the questions honestly, the outcome might still be the same: a realization of their shortcomings. Follow this up by soliciting their ideas on how they can improve.
  3. Do a Solid Wrap-up. Make sure that you do a solid wrap-up of the conversation by summarizing what you agreed and even what you didn’t agree on. The wrap-up should include clear action points, which both of you can reference on the next appraisal. This should be written down on the tool and then signed by you and the employee.

Performance appraisal needs careful attention and preparation. It shouldn’t be treated as an item that needs to be “taken out of the way.” For managers, practice is required as each employee’s case is different. These three main tips will hopefully set you in the right direction.